Apparently Kaby Lake Is Incompatible with Z370 Chipsets

Subject: Processors, Chipsets | September 23, 2017 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: Z370, z270, kaby lake, Intel, coffee lake

According to the Netherlands arm of, while Kaby Lake-based processors will physically fit into the LGA-1151 socket of Z370 motherboards, they will fail to boot. Since their post, Guru3D asked around to various motherboard manufacturers, and they claim that Intel is only going to support 8th Generation processors with that chipset via, again, allegedly, a firmware lock-out.

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Thankfully, it's not Chocolate Lake.
Image credit: The Red List

If this is true, then it might be possible for Intel to allow board vendors to release a new BIOS that supports these older processors. Guru3D even goes one step further and suggests that, just maybe, motherboard vendors might have been able to support Coffee Lake on Z270 as well, if Intel would let them. I’m... skeptical about that last part in particular, but, regardless, it looks like you won’t have an upgrade path, even though the socket is identical.

It’s also interesting to think about the issue that experienced: the boot failed on the GPU step. The prevailing interpretation is that everything up to that point is close enough that the BIOS didn’t even think to fail.

My interpretation of the step that booting failed, however, is wondering whether there’s something odd about the new graphics setup that made Intel pull support for Z270. Also, Intel usually supports two CPU generations with each chipset, so we had no real reason to believe that Skylake and Kaby Lake would carry over except for the stalling of process tech keeping us on 14nm so long.

Still, if older CPUs are incompatible with Z370, and for purely artificial reasons, then that’s kind-of pathetic. Maybe I’m odd, but I tend to buy a new motherboard with new CPUs anyway, but I can’t envision the number of people who flash BIOSes with their old CPU before upgrading to a new one is all that high, so it seems a little petty to nickel and dime the few that do, especially at a time that AMD can legitimately call them out for it.

There has to be a reason, right?

Source: Guru3D

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September 23, 2017 | 07:36 PM - Posted by Kareha

Since all the rumours of an 8C/16T consumer Intel CPU started I've decided to hang fire till the end of 2018 before I upgrade now, plus Volta should be out by then to.

September 23, 2017 | 09:53 PM - Posted by James

I am probably building a Ryzen system soon, so I am much more interested in a Ryzen motherboard roundup than anything to do with Intel chipsets. I also need to figure out the best memory to pair with Ryzen. I don't have any intention of buying an Intel part, although I would still be curious as to what they are doing. We already have news of the 15 Watt mobile "8th gen" parts going 4 core. I don't know how that will turn out, since the base clock ends up less than 2 GHz in that power budget. While we should have been at a 4 core minimum a long time ago, the release seems to be specifically targeted at AMD's upcoming mobile parts. They will also need to do something to compete with AMD on graphics. Previous generation parts where 32 or 28 nm AMD graphics against Intel 20 and 14 nm Intel parts. Intel cannot easily compete with AMD being on a similar process node. Using eDRAM is one solution, but it is a lot more expensive. They may have changed how the memory system connects to the CPU and GPU, although it is unclear why that would make it incompatible. It seems like that could be handled with a BIOS update.


September 23, 2017 | 10:01 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Yeah, the Zen architecture looks quite interesting, especially if you want a lot of PCIe lanes (and thus a target demographic for Threadripper).

September 23, 2017 | 10:21 PM - Posted by CNote

It would be nice if they allowed kaby lake at the least.

September 24, 2017 | 02:19 AM - Posted by Martin Trautvetter

This might just be Intel taking some heat for their motherboard partners, after they were (still are) left with a serious glut of 200-series inventory when sales dropped after Ryzen launched.

It's probably easier to come out with "fresh" boards that can command higher prices and be guaranteed to work with 8000-series CPUs out of the box. (not needing an old Pentium to flash old stock Z270 etc.)

Intel is of course sacrificing some upgrade sales potential for those already on Z270, but I guess adding ~$40 of guaranteed revenue to every 8000-series CPU through the chipset is going to minimize some of the pain. ;}

September 24, 2017 | 03:38 AM - Posted by JohnGR

It's just Intel, trying to force a full upgrade to people, motherboard and CPU, trying to maintain it's profit margins and it's high revenues. So Coffee will not work on 200 series, Kaby will not work on 300, and if you want an 8 core model next year, you will need a motherboard with Z390 chipset also.

Another thing they are achieving with this, is to flood the market with cheap second hand Skylake and Kabylake motherboard+cpu combos. People who had a top 1151 configuration, can't just move to a newer motherboard and keep their "good enough" CPU, or move to a new cpu and keep their hi end 200 series motherboard.

While this will hurt them a little, it will hurt AMD much more, because many are still loyal to Intel's brand. I was reading posts from people who are angry about all this, saying how they will avoid Coffee Lake and get a cheap Kaby Lake this year and wait for Ice Lake next year. Angry with Intel, but at the same time loyal to the bone.

September 24, 2017 | 07:21 AM - Posted by Mr.MO (not verified)

I would NEVER buy intel even if i had to do my work on a tablet!

September 24, 2017 | 07:23 AM - Posted by mkoto (not verified)

I still dont get it, some people keep getting slaps on the face by Intel.. and yet still planing on bying/upgrading next year.. lol

September 24, 2017 | 07:25 AM - Posted by mkoto (not verified)


September 24, 2017 | 10:36 AM - Posted by FacePalmsAllOverAgainTimes10 (not verified)

It's Intel goiing all Intel.Product.Segementator to the Nth_power because AMD's Zen/Ryzen, Zen/Threadripper, and Zen/Epyc price competition has forced Intel to forgo so much profit margins across Intel's entire Consumer/professional product offerings.

Just look at those Intel Bean Counters looking for new ways to segementate Intel's already dizzying array of thoroughly segementated offerings. Look at the cost($$$$) of extra PCIe lanes from Intel, the cost($$$$) of RAID keys to enable features, and the extre costs($$$$) for each little smallest level of feature difference among those many many confusing, and intentionally designed that way, Intel Segementated Product offerings!

It's Intel doing its Intel.Product.Segementator Best to take back with one hand what Intel was forced by AMD's Zen competition to give to the users in the first place in the form of price decreases. And Intel will continue to fruther segement its numerous and growing larger and larger line of further and fruther segemented product offerings. So expect even more Linus Facepalms, sitting on that curb in the drizzle, wondering when Intel will ever cease its Madness!

September 24, 2017 | 04:13 PM - Posted by Drizzt (not verified)

It's things like these that make me want to change, for the 1st time, to AMD. I have been an Intel user since the IBM era. My 4770 is showing its age (bought 2 days after it came out), might go for a Ryzen now, or a Threadripper if money allows.

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